Trying to play with the template a bit as you can see.
In an EMPIRE mood today. The romance, intrigue and adventure of same. Not the Courts of Chaos…but a more Amberish Empire. Sort of like my idea (not detailed here yet) for Nine Princes in Byzantium. I think its an aftereffect of reading Cetaganda. Space Empire would work too–I also have an urge to pick up Faded Suns, which sounds like a game tailor made for me. (Byzantium meets Space Opera?!).
Perhaps after I recamp in California, I will explain my NPIB idea more fully. I still might yet sometime turn it into an Amber game–heck it could be the con campaign that I’ve sometimes dreamed of running. That, or the neglected Borders of Eternity idea. Given time and opportunity, I will talk about that, too.
5 days now until California.
Just haven’t had the time to Blog. Its the California and attendant stuff, I tell you. I have plenty that I might write about, but just don’t find the opportunity to do so.
For example, Bete Noire (http://alkime.org/mtfierce/letters/) is picking up steam,but now server issues are frustrating Meera. It’s too bad, because even in “pregame” all sorts of interesting things are afoot, even with my contribution, Tynan.
It was a nice day in the Big Apple, so I decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to say “goodbye” to it. It will be weird living in a place without the mega-museums I have grown up on.
Bought a couple of bookmarks…a circular celtic knot one that I already once had but had broken through over-use, and a straight hieroglyphic one. The hieroglyphics, interestingly, translate to “As a gift of eternity, in your hand, that you might be pleased with me.” It doesn’t have a clip or a tassel though, disappointingly, this is definitely not a commuters bookmark. Then again, the days of me reading books while riding subways are just about over, in six more days. I also finished Cetaganda today, by Bujold. Good, good stuff. I can’t wait for the GURPS book to finally be finished on the Vorkosigan world.
In a Chaosian mood today. So I decided to dust off and revise a document sitting on my hard drive for a while.
A Seminar on Chaosian Politics, in House Hendrake
“My dear young one. Some beverage, perhaps?”
“Excellent. Let us begin. We have much to cover before the sky turns. I promised Belissa to help get you up to speed. Of course no one in Chaos, not even the Emperor, understands the enormity of what happens. But let us confine ourselves to the major events of the here and now, shall we?”
“You know of course the basic social institutions of this, our world. The Emperor, Merlin the First, the House Sawall now House Royal as a result. A weak king, and thus responsible, by that weakness for the fractuous nature of our political landscape.”
“Treason and treachery? I hardly think my words constitute THAT, young diplomat to be. I merely describe the obvious. In times of strong Rulers in Thelbane, the energies of the Houses are less directed at each other, and are usually channeled more productively. However, with a King admittedly both new and unschooled in Politics, it is certain that there will be those who take advantage of the deficiencies.”
“Then, there is the Diet. Thirteen Great Houses and a rotating crew of six Lesser ones. Currently, its considered weak, for it has not actively tried to exercise its power in the wake of the new Emperor. However, much of the politics of the Courts revolves around that august body. For, as you well know, it is only from the Thirteen that a new Emperor or Empress is ever chosen.”
“For as long as there has been a system of Great and Lesser Houses, the Lesser have sought to become the Greater, and the Greater scheme with each other for power and status.”
“Now, attend. The order of the line of succession is complex and requires continual calculation to determine one’s rank and order. The order of Houses is relatively stable, but it does change, especially because of and in terms of the strength of the Great Houses. It would not do, of course, to have a weak House be on the top of the succession. And yet, no one House can dominate the succession, either, that is why the heirs filter through all of the Great Houses cyclically. But that is a lesson in and of itself, and aye, more than a single one.”
“But let me list the Great Houses nevertheless.”
“House Sawall is the House Royal. The House of our Emperor-King, Merlin, and the Heir, Despil Gramble Sawall. The second in succession is none other than their brother Jurt Gramble Sawall. Sawall’s strengths lie in the fact that Suhuy is of the House, and his influence over matters of the Logrus weigh heavily on the Courts.”
“The second House in line is ours, House Hendrake. Yes, our beloved Duchess Belissa, the head of our House, is next in the line in succession after the Grambles. Our House’s traditions you know well…honor, martial prowess, loyalty. We are one of the larger Houses, by the way, in terms of actual numbers.”
A pause. “We also have a high rate of the Final Death, alas, as well.”
“After us comes a House that couldn’t be more different…Helgram. The House of Sorcery and Magics. It is said that the Helgram have lost and forgotten more spells than any other Houses knows in toto. However, as Sorcerers, they are often cowardly, retiring and treacherous. Deal with their diplomats with this in mind.”
“The House Minobee are Traders, and this is far beyond the simple aspects of money. Trade can take any form, and can be of anything. A Minobee will never give you, young Diplomat, what they can sell to you. They are always looking for the margin to profit.”
“Aricline…Ariclines are the Youngest of the Thirteen, diplomat to be. They are still finding their way in the Chaos world. It would do to watch them and theirs.”
“Amblerash, of course, is the House of the Serpent. The ranks of the priesthood come exclusively from their number. Were you, young diplomat, find that you have a calling, you would first have to be adopted into their House before you could take the Vows. Their politics are predictably conservative and tradition bound.”
“Baccaran? Baccaran you have to watch for. They aren’t called the Golden Tongued for nothing. They will ply you will grandiose and subtle plans for alliance and partnership, and make it seem that it was your idea all along. They have ambition to match their persuasive skills.”
“Draynell is a House that we have a love and hate relationship with. They are Expansionistic and Imperialistic, always seeking to expand the fortunes of their House, and of the Courts in general. Of course you will realize that such expansion often comes on the blades of our House, young diplomat.”
“Vangrast is a most unassuming House, until you realize that their specialty is the art of Trump. Trumps, you know, are often as dangerous as they are useful, and the Vangrast know all about them. Be wary of accepting a friendly trump call…or even a card, from one of their number.”
“Cultivate friendship with Elvina, if you can. The Elvina, aside from our exiled cousins, are the best at the healing of the body and of the power of shifting. They are far, far, more honorable than the treacherous Lessimans, cursed be their name. Their politics are always in support of the King. They dare not deviate otherwise. They keep their heads in the sand as a Karagh might.”
“Wererathe is another fairly new House, not very noteworthy except for their ongoing feud with Chanicut, which I will mention in a few moments, my pupil. They are fairly competent at Ways construction, and in fact constructed your own. The bulk of the Shadowmaster’s Guild is of their House.”
“Chanicut is a shell of the Great House they once were. They suffered, and suffered badly in the War, and also in the Succession. Once known for extensive tracts in the Black Zone, they now hover on the edge of viability. There, young diplomat is the flashpoint, for there are Houses who would not shed a tear to see Chanicut lose its last shred of status…and minor Houses bucking to supplant it in the thirteen.”
“Jesby is even more ambitious than Draynell, who often allies with them on many matters. Jesby has a penchant for trying to assimilate small minor Houses with talents they want into their own body, swallowing them whole. They have even, in the past tried to do to one of the Houses under our aegis. Their attempts to do so make them not very loved, young diplomat.”
“More wine? Excellent. Now, in two turnings, I will discuss more of these matters. Reflect on what I have said. Fare thee well.”
Another busy weekend…been having a lot of those as California draws nearer and nearer.
This weekend, for instance involved my mother’s birthday, and a trip to the Museum of Natural History to see five of my friends before I jump from
East to West Coast. It was a lot of fun, I will admit, and actually one of my friends (Elisa) is NOT part of my circle of gaming friends, and so had
never met the others and vice versa.
I will miss them all!
In other news, the first real review of the new Nobilis is out.
I want it! The game Mechanical Dream, also reviewed in that issue of Out of the Box, sounds intriguing as well. Sort of like Agone in its weird setting. But I really want the new version of Nobilis. I bet that I could do an email Nobilis game–and get a few players to try it.
Evangelism, Jvstin Style?
I’ve been praised as an Evangelist of the Amber Community by Epoch, aka Michael Sullivan. (thanks to Arref for telling me this)
Strange, huh? Read it for yourself. Me, Arref, the Michigan Cabal, and Doyce are cited.
And here I have always thought of myself as a lightweight compared with the others. Maybe I am not such a small fish as I thought. Objective views of ones work can
reveal hidden depths, indeed.
Funny, though, one of my joking routines at work back when Joyce was my Boss involved a book we called “The Bible”–which was a huge compliation of stuff she had gathered over the years on procedures and info. Whenever she asked me to look something up, I would start doing a “sermon” bit, citing a fake chapter and verse.
Darn, this makes me feel good.
New Daily Newspaper in NYC debuted yesterday, under an old name.
THE NEW YORK SUN.
Trivia buffs will recognize this as the name of the paper which has the famous letter to Santa Claus by a little girl named Virginia. That paper ceased publication in 1950. In an neat tip of their hat to history, though, the first issue of the Sun yesterday printed the “previous day’s crossword puzzle solution”–which was the solution to the puzzle from the last issue of that original Sun in 1950.
No real web presence as far as I can see, though, which is a pity. The style of the paper’s columns and text is definitely a type of voice not heard in New York in quite a while–it definitely has a unique character of its own.
The politics of the paper seem conservative thus far in choice of articles and editorials. I *think* they are trying for a “mature NY Post” in editorial tone, but time will tell.
Meera has a kick-ass entry on the difference between PCs and the various types of NPCs on her general game blog.
Go read it now. Trust me, you will not regret it.
Just found out that Damon Knight passed away.
Name doesn’t sound familiar? One line from a classic twilight zone episode is hardly justice for a man’s life work, but I am sure, gentle
reader you will remember THIS:
“To Serve Man…It’s…it’s a cookbook!”
Rest in Peace.
Too many authors passing away, too quickly. What a way to start my day.
Weather is way too hot today. Upper 80’s is fine, well and good..on July 16th, not April 16th.
The weather has just been screwy for months. Winter really was nothing more than a cold spring..the number of below freezing days were very few, the previous fall had been warm…the previous summer had been moderate with few very hot days. All atypical for New York’s “bake and freeze” climate.
Today, Southern California (17 days to go!) was 20 degrees cooler than here.